Canadian Packaging

Crunching towards sustainability: The British Crisp Co. unveils U.K.’s first fully recyclable crisp packet

By Perception A   


Packet uses Aquapak’s innovative and environmentally safe Hydropol

The British Crisp Co. has today launched the first fully recyclable paper crisp packet, providing an environmentally friendly and scalable alternative to the eight billion packets thrown away each year in the U.K., ending up in landfill or are incinerated. Consumers can dispose of the new crisp packet in their normal curbside recycling collection, along with their other paper recyclable items.

The new paper packet, which has been developed in partnership with Evopak, a manufacturer of sustainable, paper-based flexible packaging, uses an innovative polymer, Hydropol, developed by Aquapak, instead of conventional plastic. A very thin layer of vacuum-deposited aluminium keeps the crisps fresh, but doesn’t impact the recyclability of the packets.

Hydropol can be recycled, re-pulped, and composted and is distinctively compatible with anaerobic digestion. Furthermore, if unintentionally released into the natural environment, Hydropol – which is non-toxic and marine safe – will dissolve and subsequently biodegrade. It does not break down into harmful microplastics, so it still has a safe end-of-life, even if it is not disposed of as intended. It is already being used in products such as reusable, heat-sealable paper mailing bags.


The packets have been certified as recyclable in standard paper-recycling mills by OPRL, the only evidence-based on pack recycling labelling scheme. This means they feature the green recycle logo and can be disposed of in consumer curbside collections along with other paper material, unlike other crisp packets.

Hydropol – performs like plastic, recycles like paper
Aquapak Polymers Ltd specializes in designing and manufacturing new polymer-based material technologies that uniquely deliver both performance and environmental responsibility at scale. Hydropol™ is a groundbreaking high-performance polymer developed by Aquapak’s own research chemists that enables product and packaging design to meet all necessary functional and performance requirements, whilst increasing recycling, reducing harmful plastic pollution and supporting the circular economy. When extrusion coated or laminated onto paper, Hydropol™ adds strength and barriers to oxygen, oil and grease, and its solubility allows 100 per cent paper fibre recovery through paper-recycling mills.

Tom Lock, CEO of British Snack Company, said: “Brits consume over eight billion packets of crisps each year, the majority of which are not recyclable and end up in landfill or incinerators – that’s a lot of waste and a huge environmental problem. In partnership with Evopak and using exciting new polymer technology, we have created the first fully recyclable crisp packet – something that consumers have been demanding for a long time.”

Mark Lapping, Chief Executive Officer, Aquapak, said: “Today’s launch marks a significant milestone for Aquapak and our Hydropol technology, which can be commercialized at scale. This is a huge opportunity for brands and producers who now have a viable, functional and recyclable alternative that enables full fibre recovery in a standard paper-recycling process.”

Daniel McAlister, Director of Business Operations at Evopak, commented: “We have developed a unique paper, which has the potential to revolutionize packaging as we know it, thanks to the unique properties of Hydropol. The paper can be used in a range of applications, from snacks and confectionery to pet care and dry foods and cereals, and costs the same as existing materials.”

Aquapak develops and manufactures a range of adaptive polymer-based material technologies that deliver both performance and environmental responsibility at scale. For example, it has developed Hydropol, an enabling technology for the circular economy, which is biodegradable, compostable and marine-safe and used in a range of packaging materials. Aquapak’s HQ and manufacturing centre is in Birmingham, U.K., with its main geographical markets in the U.S., the E.U. and Asia.

About Hydropol™ – Accelerating the transition to the Circular Economy

Hydropol™, developed and produced by Aquapak, is a highly functional, specialty environmental polymer that allows product design to support the circular economy – by enabling recycling and delivering multiple end-of-life options. It is designed to be an alternative to traditional plastics, offering their versatility and functionality but without harming the environment.

Hydropol™ is soluble, non-toxic and marine safe. Products made with Hydropol™ are safe for existing recycling processes and are fully biodegradable, leaving no trace or plastic pollution should they enter the environment.

As an enabling technology, Hydropol™ can be used on its own or in combination with other materials to enhance recyclability, compostability and end-of-life options. Its material properties allow for scalability into diverse types of products and its solubility makes it easy to separate from other materials when recycling. For example, it can be extrusion coated and laminated onto paper or board giving strength and barrier properties against oxygen, oil and grease then made into alternative mailing bags, dry pet food sacks, window patch boxes and packets etc.

To dispose, consumers can simply put the packaging into their household paper waste. The Hydropol layer is formulated to ‘wash off’ (dissolve) during the paper-repulping process and then either biodegrades in the wastewater system or turned into clean energy if the plant has an AD system.

Who is using Hydropol?
Consumers and businesses are increasingly concerned about plastic pollution and environmental sustainability. Packaging producers need solutions. Aquapak has partnered with a growing base of clients in apparel, fashion, hospitality, healthcare, food packaging, logistics packaging, industrial, nonwovens, and other packaging.

What is Hydropol made from?
The base plastic is currently used for dishwasher tablets, ingestible pill casings and soluble stitches. Hydropol™’s resistance to low-temperature solubility and high barrier to elements adds functionality, providing a wider range of uses. It can be recycled, re-pulped, composted and is distinctively compatible with anaerobic digestion. Furthermore, if unintentionally released into the natural environment, Hydropol™ – which is non-toxic and marine safe – will dissolve and subsequently biodegrade, leaving no trace.

What is Hydropol being used for?
Extrusion coatings and laminates for paper/board applications are commercially available and in customer production trial stages, including a number of home delivery and e-commerce applications, packaging for dried pet-food, snacks, cooked-meat and convenience-food applications.

Blown film products commercially available and made from Hydropol™ include garment bags, ESD bags, organic waste-disposal bags and laundry bags for infection control. These can be disposed of at home by the consumer in hot water or added to the recycling where they dissolve during the recycling wash processes.

Other applications under development with customers and development partners include injection-moulded parts such as golf tees, non-woven fibre for applications such as flushable wet wipes and cellulose combinations for thermoformed trays.


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